East Metro Youth Services (EMYS) is a community- based children's mental health centre, accredited by Children’s Mental Health Ontario, which has been serving young people and their families in East Toronto for over thirty years. Our staff work in partnership with families, schools, and other health professionals to help young people achieve their personal best. We provide a range of prevention, assessment, and diagnostic services, as well as counselling, day treatment, transitional support residential and community development / prevention services. Violence Prevention is NOT a School Issue – It is a community issue that requires a community response – Everyone has a role to play in reducing and eliminating violence, and everyone’s role is critical – Partnerships between schools and community agencies are the ideal model Not All Violence Prevention Programming Makes Things Better • Some programs can even make things worse (boot camp, scared straight) • Programming should be intensive, long term and involve people at all levels • Programs should be based on current evidence, research and best practices Addressing Youth Bullying / Dating Violence and Gendered Harassment… We need to be aware of what does not work… • Peer Mediation • Anger Management • Shaming a person out of bullying • Punitive consequences • Short term Interventions • Making the youth being targeted responsible for solving the problem What works… • Creating a school wide bullying prevention plan and giving it time to work. Real change takes time • Involve youth in solutions and programming • Find alternatives to suspension and expulsion. Give youth who seek power a chance to have it in a positive place. • Focus on by-stander culture • Never ignore bullying even if subtle and always follow up with all involved (separately) when bullying is reported or identified. • Remember that we are the models for the use of power and “children’s capacity for healthy relationships grows out of their relationships with adults” (PrevNet, 2007) • Measure program effectiveness and use empirically validated programs. RISE (Respect In Schools Everywhere) is a youth-engagement violence prevention program. Core Components of RISE: Youth-led Whole school approach to violence prevention Based on the principles of youth engagement Youth engagement is the meaningful participation and involvement of youth in an activity with a focus outside of him or herself. Meaningful youth engagement is built on the recognition that every young person has something to contribute to the active betterment of Canadian society. (The Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement, 2003) RISE focuses specifically on some of the most pressing issues facing youth today, namely bullying and cyber-bullying, bullying As well as dating violence and sexual/ gender-based harassment Each Grade 7-10 class in the host high school and “feeder” middle schools receive 2 workshops on the topics. Workshops are facilitated by RISE Reps and a RISE staff. RISE also conducts school-wide violence prevention activities, such as poster contests, t-shirt logo contests and sports events In The RISE Program, Youth: • Develop and make decisions about programming for their schools • Deliver the programming by leading workshops and school-wide initiatives • Mentor younger youth • Have a platform to have their voices heard • Have positive power RISE - Skill Building • Public Speaking / Event Planning • Decision Making / How to Run a Meeting • Social Skills – Conflict Resolution • Multi-media as a way to give youth a voice and connect with other youth (and learn how to use computers, software, video equip) Developmental Milestones • Developing Identity • Helping youth see themselves in a different way… as a service provider, not recipient • Help them eliminate previous labels and give opportunities to “offset shame”. Other Developmental Milestones Addressed: • Strong Peer Associations • Have youth speak to other youth as “when youth speak, other youth listen” • Creating a pro-social peer group for youth who are “negative leaders” The RISE Model addresses the various developmental milestones for adolescents, as true youth engagement should. • Risk Taking • Exploration -Safe Risks -Public speaking / Challenging Activities Evaluating RISE • Collaborative Process – Researchers and program leaders work together – Identify key questions • Research Process Evolves over Time • Began with very simple research strategies • Developed an understanding of the program • Recently initiated a rigorous evaluation Research strategies for Evaluating RISE • Assess student acceptance with workshop evaluation surveys • Measure changes in bullying and dating aggression with standardized measures of knowledge and behavior • Conduct focus groups with teachers and students at the end of the year Student Acceptance • 83% of students say the workshops were interesting • 93% said RISE Reps were well informed • 73 % said they learned a lot from the workshops and would use RISE information for themselves or to help a friend Comparison of students, before and after workshops Knowledge of Bullying 90 85 % correct 80 75 70 65 60 Participated in workshop? Before Workshop After Workshop Significant change from before to after workshop Victim of Bullying 60 55 % victimized 50 45 40 35 30 Participated in workshop? Before Workshop After Workshop Significant change from before to after workshop Knowledge About Dating Aggression 75 70 65 Before Workshop After Workshop 60 55 50 Victim of Dating Aggression 15 14 13 Before Workshop After Workshop 12 11 10 Student and Teacher Opinions of RISE Expressed in Focus Groups Conducted at the End of Three Years RISE Works • “Personally I’ve seen fights stop.. that people go in and actually stop it, bystanders. So I think it is making a good impact on the school and it will help ..some abuse and bullying and violence” Grade 7 student • “I think that the program definitely needs to stay.. because … they’re not going to respond to any other program that ever has come in about bullying and violence” Teacher • “I think the kids are starting to feel comfortable about coming forward to adults. ..We had a student come forward and say… “one of my good friends is in a relationship and I think that he is abusing her” Guidance Youth Leadership is Critical • “..the most important thing is that the workshops are designed and led by kids. And the kids are a very diverse group, pro-social and perpetrators of bullying. Teacher • “It’s made a huge difference in the RISE kids, and other students can’t help but watch the changes, and so its really coming from a role-modeling perspective.” Guidance • The student led presentation is the most powerful piece of the entire project. Everything else we can work around, but if you take that piece out then it is just going to be another anti-bullying curriculum delivered by a teacher. Teacher Target Middle Schools • “often it is this age group that gets missed, but this is the age where you need to get to them and sometimes even in talking to secondary students, once they are in grade 9, its too late for them” Teacher in Middle School • “.. we have students coming into our school as grade 9 students, and it’s great that they have had a connection to kids in our school. It’s helpful to develop the culture of the middle schools, and its also really helpful to develop the culture of our school because we’re bringing in kids that have had that sort of anti-violence message” Teacher in High School Next Steps with the Research • Compare students in schools that do not have the RISE program with students in schools those that do • Examine whether the program works in lots of different schools, with different RISE staff • Sustainability Youth Perspectives… RISE would like to thank our program funders: Materials presented are the property of the RISE Program, a division of East Metro Youth Services. Not to be copied or reproduced without express permission of the RISE Program.
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